Today on The View, Marvel unveiled their new Thor. In this new title, Thor is found unworthy of Mjölnir and instead, a woman is found worthy. According to the Marvel press release:
“The inscription on Thor’s hammer reads ‘Whosoever holds this hammer, if HE be worthy, shall possess the power of Thor.’ Well it’s time to update that inscription,” says Marvel editor Wil Moss. “The new Thor continues Marvel’s proud tradition of strong female characters like Captain Marvel, Storm, Black Widow and more. And this new Thor isn’t a temporary female substitute – she’s now the one and only Thor, and she is worthy!”
So far, a lot of people seem to be confused. Some are calling it a PR stunt or claiming it flies in the face of Norse mythology (As if Marvel hasn’t done so several times over by now). So why should they have a female Thor?
Firstly, titles sell. Would you have picked up a Miles Morales book if he was an original character and not Spiderman in the Ultimate Universe? You might have, but chances are, you pick up comic books based on their title. Sif had her own book with Journey Into Mystery…which was cancelled due to poor sales, as well as Fearless Defenders and Red She-Hulk. Even Captain Marvel, which Marvel relaunched recently, isn’t selling so well, at least in physical copies. X-Men, when it launched last year in May, was the top selling book for that month. While it saw a drop in sales since, it is still one of Marvel’s best selling books with female leads, and it was done with an all female team.
There are exceptions; Harley Quinn is selling like crazy right now, and she doesn’t need a Bat- in her name. But can Marvel bank on an all new original title selling like crazy? Its a shame, but by having the name Thor, Marvel is playing it safe. People will buy Thor; they might not ever buy Thunder-Woman.
Secondly, this is not the first time another person has taken the title of Thor. In 1983, Thor was replaced by an alien named Beta Ray Bill. And if a horse faced alien can be Thor, why can’t a woman? A woman has also taken the title of Thor before. While non-canonical, the concept of Thor as an ideal and not an individual was explored in What If? when Rogue absorbed Thor’s powers, wielded Mjölnir and became Thor.
What is likely to happen is that the male Thor will come back, but by the way Moss insists she isn’t a temporary substitute, her title will go on as long as it sells. I predict that He-Thor will get his own title eventually…though they probably won’t call it He-Thor.